Granada

It may be compact, but Granada’s mix of Iberian and Arab heritage, from traditional Andalusian tapas bars to bustling bazaars...

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...and traditional Moorish bathhouses, only adds to its charm. Throw in some of the world’s most fabulous historical buildings and the Sierra Nevada mountains on its doorstep, and you have a city just begging to be explored.

Getting active

Cycling is a great way to get around Granada and there are numerous bike rental companies dotted around the city offering hourly and daily rates. For runners and joggers, Federico Garcia Lorca Park in the Camino de Ronda area has wide, easily navigable paths running through its gardens, flowerbeds and fountains.

Inspired by the Koran's description of paradise, the Generalife is a 14th-century Islamic summer palace and elaborate gardens near the Alhambra. It is a magical place to wander around, and provides respite from the heat in the summer, with shady footpaths, gently bubbling fountains, rose bushes and orange and lemon trees.

With players like Sergio García and José María Olazabal scoring for their country, it’s no surprise that Spain is brimming with top-notch golf courses and Andalusia’s diverse landscape hosts many of the country’s premier clubs. The closest one to Granada is the 18-hole Granada Club de Golf, seven miles (11km or 30 minutes' drive) away.
Football, of course, is another Spanish passion. Aficionados of the beautiful game should head to Estadio Nuevo Los Cármenes, the home ground of Granada FC. It’s located in the suburb of Zaidín, 3km south of the centre.

Excursions

The Sierra Nevada national park: A 50-minute drive southeast of central Granada, Spain’s biggest national park provides a startling backdrop to the city. Mountainous and snowcapped for most of the year it covers 220,000 acres and offers endless options for skiing (Pradollano is the main resort), hiking, wildlife and bird watching.

La Alpujarra: A 20-minute drive south of Granada, these stunning valleys and ravines offer some of the best hiking in Spain, while their pretty whitewashed villages make an ideal base. Interest in La Alpujarra was renewed in 2009 thanks to the bestseller Driving Over Lemons: An Optimist in Spain, written by ex-Genesis drummer Chris Stewart.

La Costa Tropical: The seaside towns of Almuñecar, Salobreña and La Herradura on Granada’s short coastline have an easy-going charm, with plenty of coves, decent beaches and traditional restaurants and tavernas to explore.